UNION COUNTY — Enrollment in the Union County School District will decline by 37 students a year over the next five years according to a study conducted by the district’s Technology Department.
In an address to the Union County Board of School Trustees Monday evening, Technology Director Tim Barnado presented the Union County School District Enrollment Project Study. Barnado said that the study was conducted earlier this month and that “the information presented is just estimated projections used for planning purposes only.” He said the study was conducted “in an attempt to predict future trends in enrollments at all our locations.”
Barnado said that the study “assumes no dramatic changes will occur in the surrounding community, however, unexpected growth is always welcome.”
The study and it projections are based on demographic information, specifically birth rates, collected by the state.
“The basis of the study is taken from the birth rate data from the DHEC SCAN (South Carolina Community Assessment Network) system and is projected forward based on past trends,” Barnado said. “The method used to attempt to predict future enrollments was the Cohort Survival Method. This method consists of looking at groups of students as they move through the grade levels (i.e. as a group of students move from first to second to third, etc.). We follow these groups of students throughout their K-12 education in an attempt to show by school and grade level patterns that may exist in enrollment.”
Barnado said that based on this information the study makes the following projects about student enrollment over the next five years:
• Buffalo Elementary School is predicted to decrease in enrollment by an average factor of 7.5 students per year.
• Foster Park Elementary School is predicted to decrease in enrollment by an average factor of 8.6 students per year.
• Monarch Elementary School is predicted to decrease in enrollment by an average factor of 7.6 students per year.
• Jonesville Elementrary/Middle School is predicted to increase in enrollment by an average factor of 7.4 students per year, but this trend is only expected to last for the five-year period covered by the report after which enrollment is expected to decrease.
• Lockhart Schools is expected to have no average change over the five years covered in the report.
• Sims Middle School showed the most consistency in the district as far as student retention is concerned. The report projects enrollment at Sims to increase an average of three students per year. After peaking in 2019, however, enrollment is expected to begin to again decrease.
• Union County High School shows the largest average drop with 23.9 students per year. This trend seems to be supported by the drops that occurred between schools years since the 2009-2010 school year.
Barnado said that “because the drops at the locations are higher than the projected enrollments as a district we anticipate an average of drop of approximately 37 students per year over the next five years.”
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-672-4090.